Merijn Kavelaars (1985, The Netherlands) works primarily in painting and installation. NMAG first exhibited his work in Paris (2012) and invited him to join the pop-up gallery in Shanghai in 2015. The metropole drastically changed his work, and made him decide to stay and continue working in China. He began questioning the parameters of creative freedom, which forms the philosophy of his work. The work became more focused, allowing himself to paint in the moment and invoke a more primal energy. Shanghai even brought Kavelaars to the creation of his own alphabet. On canvas these Kavelaars symbols interact with the energetic brushstrokes and his use of vibrant colours.

Overtime the external impulses that fed him in Shanghai came from within and took Kavelaars paintings beyond the frame to installation and site-specific projects. In complete isolation Kavelaars has transformed spaces from top to bottom, taking over abandoned buildings and leaving no ceiling or wall uncovered or making an exhibition in a church and projecting his lines and forms through light visuals that filled its monumental architecture. The paintings and installations have embraced chance and immediacy, always combined with humor and self-irony. 

Merijn Kavelaars is based between Valkenswaard, Shanghai and Amsterdam and has spent the time living and working in Shanghai and Iran. Kavelaars was recently  artist in residence at Fresno301, Mexico City, and now back in the Netherlands


The whole paperwork series is called MCFresno301-P[number]. MC stands for Mexico City, Fresno 301 is the studio where I created the work, and P stands for Paper, and lastly the number of the work. 

The paperworks are inspired by the sounds of Mexico City. Every city has its own sounds and in Mexico City these are quite extreme, from my point of view. In some works you can for example read the words that are being yelled out on the streets by local waste collectors.

P40 is an abstract roadmap of the sounds moving around me. The three colors: red, yellow and blue, stand for different neighborhoods. Some neighborhoods are very structured, some are not organized at all. Some are tense and dangerous, some are light and safe.

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